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Natalie Barrett
Elle munching on her fries.

Editor’s note: Natalie Barrett experiences what it’s like to dine out with her 3-year-old daughter, Elle.

My Elle loves playing with food. I can be a broken record at home: "Eat your food! Stop playing with it!" There are times, especially at home, when we need to move on to other things, like bath or bed or errands. More than anything, I just want her to get moving.

The best part of Salt City Burger Co. at 9176 S. Village Shop Drive in Sandy is the opportunity to play with your food. Elle chose the grilled cheese and I had the Hawaiian teriyaki burger. We took apart the buns of our sandwiches and marched over to the topping bar.

As a mother, I was thrilled to see Elle jumping at the deep green lettuce and red juicy tomatoes. She loved picking and adding them to her plate. I helped her make a ketchup smiley on one side and she opted for a ketchup heart on the other side. Ketchup and grilled cheese aren't really cohesive, but we went with it.

I added green peppers, onions, lettuce, tomatoes and all kinds of great vegetables. My burger could hardly fit in my mouth, but it was worth it.

The owner of Salt City Restaurant Co., Mike Osteloh, said the purpose is to make the burger personal: "Everyone has their own special way of topping a burger. The toppings bar gives our customers the freedom to build their burger just the way they like."

Besides the topping bar, I would still go back simply because the beef created the best burger I have had in Utah.

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"At Salt City we use only USDA Choice Beef," said Osterloh. "We also grind the beef in our own kitchen every day and form the beef into patties just before they hit the grill. We believe this is the best way to make a burger as tender and flavorful as possible. We also have our own proprietary char broilers that sear in the best flavors of a burger. We haven't been able to find a manufacturer that builds the kind of char broiler we like, so I build them myself."

Elle was also thrilled with not having to wait in line and about getting four crayons (she hates when she gets two green crayons). She remarked, "Look, Mom! They gave me red, blue, yellow and green! I like this place."

For the little ones, even the little things like crayons make a difference.

"I think the early 1900's design makes the restaurant a fun place for families," said Osteloh.